For a holidaymaker, a visit to Thailand is an amazing experience and a memory for life. But spend more time here, and you will inevitably notice that the Land of Smiles has changed you. Now you have lots of new local habits, share local concepts and views. You become a person you have never had before. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Thailand is a life-changing place. So let's go ticking the boxes one-by-one. Here are the first five.
Put the knives away, please
For centuries Siamese people proffered to have their meals just with hands sometimes using leaves of edible plants to help themselves. At some stage European cutlery was introduced, but Thais limited the standard set of spoon-fork-knive to ork and spoon only. The fork is used to place your desired piece on the spoon... and here it goes to the mouth. Meats and other ingredients are either cut edible size or tender enough to be broken by fork and spoon. Honestly, I felt embarrassed numerous times when had to sit at a European table and try to use a knife. Thai way of eating sticks with you forever. Today I cocked a steak for my friend from abroad and automatically chopped that fine beef into bite-sized pices. Sorry, bro.
Riding, not walking
At first you are always surprised: why to get on a motorbike to make it to a 7-Eleven which is some 500 metres away. No the question is different. Walking those 500 METRES?! Are you kidding me? It's to the moon and back, please save me from this space journey. And even more, do you expect, me to caryy my groceries in hands? This is just ridiculous as you can use either yoy bikes basket or a perfectly placed hook for any amount of bags. And of course a Thai motorcycle suits for carrying everything: from fresh seafood to furniture. Just strap the latter tight.
Beach is somewhere over there
Most tourists enjoys their days swimming in the Sea, relaxing in the Sun or massaging their feet on Phuket's gentle Sand. Vitamin SSS, that's how tourist brochures market it. In reality most expats get tired of the beaches (with crowds of tourists, hawkers etc) very quickly. A visit once a month to have a family picknic? Obviously yes. Spending all days as a lazy seal. Definitely no. Most of us have jobs to do, after all.
Pasa Thai. Need noi
It's really tricky to find a foreigner fluent in Thai language, yet we all use Thai words and phrases even when they are not necessary at all. Want to carry something big? Well, you need a saleng or samlor (a motorcycle with a side-car). Want two chilies in your papaya salad? Then, of course, you ask for prick song for your beloved som tum. Feel hot and urgently need an ice-cold Cola? Ask for cock yen. And the worst of all – you and kha and khrap even when addressing a street vendor in Hong Kong. Though, there is nothing wrong in being too polite.
This story is not a scientific research, just a personal opinion of a man who spent eight years in the Land of Smiles. And yes, it's to be continued..